New R01 Awarded to DC CFAR Investigator, Jeanne Jordan, PhD

February 22, 2017
DC CFAR investigator, Jeanne Jordan, PhD, has recently been awarded an R01 from the National Institutes of Health entitled, "Evaluating Companion Diagnostics to the Anal Pap Test to Improve Prediction of AIN2+ in HIV-Infected MSM".

In the United States, anal cancer incidence has risen 96% in the last 2-3 decades, with an incidence of 137 per 100,000 among HIV-infected men who have sex with men (HIV+MSM).  While screening anal Pap specimens for high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) DNA is very sensitive for detecting infection, it has limited specificity to predict anal cancer; in contrast, epigenetic changes induce cell cycle changes and promote cellular immortalization, and as such could be a more specific companion diagnostic to the anal Pap test for predicting anal cancer than is HR-HPV DNA.
This project seeks to assess the following combined measures of HPV gene expression from anal specimens: a) methylation status of all 15 CpG sites within the long control region (LCR) upstream of E6/E7 oncogenes, b) intra-epithelial levels of HR-HPV E6/E7 mRNA, and c) HPV 16/18 E6 protein expression. The researchers hypothesize that combining one or more of these biomarkers with the anal Pap test, rather than the HR-HPV DNA test, would improve specificity for predicting AIN2+.